Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can be unnerving for parents at any time, but with all the excitement coming up to Christmas and friends and family dropping over the continuous change in routine is bound to be scary.
So how can you prepare your child in the run up to Christmas?
The National Autistic Society UK suggests a number of key routines and activities to help prepare your child in advance and ensure you all have a wonderful day.
1. Plan in advance
Provide a calendar or timetable so the child knows what to expect over the coming days. Highlight important events such as going to see Santa, last day of school and the main event itself.
By talking to your child about how much Christmas means to you and what will happen over the festive season, they will have a better understanding of what is going on and will be less likely to have a meltdown as they are prepared.
2. Visual aids
Putting together a Christmas booklet for your child is a clever way of preparing them as they can visualise what to expect. Providing pictures of the Christmas tree, decorations, the usual types of food served at Christmas time and an image of Santa may alleviate their stress levels and yours!
3. Decorating the house
Change can be disturbing for those with ASD, so try to involve your child in picking the decorations or looking at them before they are put up around the house.
4. Plan your day
Routine plays a big part in minimising stress for ASD people, so try to keep their routine the same even on Christmas Day. Try to organise an activity they enjoy and give them some free time to help highlight any anxieties they are having, giving you time to adjust for them.
Limiting the number of presents the child will receive can prevent your youngster from becoming overwhelmed. Giving the gifts one at a time, or putting a present next to an old one the child loves can help relieve anxiousness. And remember, unless your son or daughter enjoys unwrapping presents it’s best to avoid wrapping.